NYMEX-U.S. crude prices supported by signs of strong demand
PERTH, July 22 (Reuters) - U.S. crude prices rose in early trading in Asia on Monday, trading about a $1 below a 16-month high hit in the prior session, as signs of increasing demand in the world's largest oil consumer continued to push prices up.
On Friday, U.S. crude traded above the global crude oil benchmark, North Sea Brent, for the first time since 2010 on the prospect of stronger demand from U.S. refiners.
* NYMEX crude for August delivery rose 35 cents to$108.40 a barrel by 0032 GMT. The contract hit a 16-month high of $109.32 a barrel on Friday.
* Brent crude for August delivery rose 38 cents to $108.45 a barrel.
* Hedge funds are betting on a big commodity price rebound, with wagers on U.S. crude oil at record highs after the U.S. Federal Reserve softened its stance on tapering its monetary stimulus last week.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve is "reviewing" a landmark 2003 decision that first allowed regulated banks to trade in physical commodity markets, it said on Friday, a move that may send new shockwaves through Wall Street.
* South Sudan plans to sell 6.4 million barrels of oil worth $300 million before shutting down its entire production by the end of July due to a row over its alleged support for rebels in neighbouring Sudan.
* The Group of 20 nations pledged on Saturday to put growth before austerity, seeking to revive a global economy that "remains too weak" and adjusting stimulus policies with care so that recovery is not derailed by volatile financial markets.
* The U.S. dollar index slipped early Monday to around 82.426.
* Japanese stocks led Asian markets up on Monday, while the yen briefly slipped after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was given a solid platform to continue his aggressive push to reflate the world's third biggest economy.
* The following data is expected on Monday:
- 1230 U.S. Chicago Fed National Activity Index
- 1400 U.S. Existing home sales
(Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; Editing by Ed Davies)